While I love to write about music, there is nothing better than going out and supporting live music by attending a show. Seeing an old favorite for the umpteenth time or someone for the first, it's that place you go for a few hours where you're immersed in the music and all else is forgotten (and a good time is had). Admittedly, I see an insane amount of shows yearly, from artists we all know to some few have heard of (and way more than I recap for this site because sometimes you just want to go and not have to write about it in the morning). So, if you are looking for another list to read while you are recuperating from NYE, I give ya my favorite live shows from 2015.
1. Turnpike Troubadours at Highline Ballroom, NYC
Turnpike are favorites and their live show is unparalleled. They have the songs, and the impeccable musicianship, as well as an intense energy and a pure enjoyment (and fun) that emanates from them as they play. You like their records, you'll love them live. It's the type of show that you don't want to end....and is always over before you want it to be. If you haven't seen them live, make that one of your resolutions.
2. Braun Brothers Reunion Challis, Idaho
Sure it's not super easy to get to, but it's the best festival that you don't know about. The BBR is a three-day event held in beautiful Idaho, outside with the mountains as backdrop. Reckless Kelly and Micky & The Motorcars (both always a-mazing) anchor Thursday and Saturday with a rotating cast of superb artists which this year included Jason Eady, Courtney Patton, Wade Bowen, Eilen Jewell, Corb Lund, Turnpike and Band of Heathens among others. Bring on August 2016!
3. Ray Wylie Hubbard at Hill Country, Brooklyn
The singer-songwriter is a modern day poet, a storyteller, a keen picker and an out and out funny guy. Hubbard is quite endearing and easily wins over an audience with his charm and wit. Oh, his music is pretty good too!
4. Sam Riggs at Midnight Rodeo, Austin
Multi-instrumentalist Riggs' live show is energetic, electric and intense. You walk away tired....and that's a good thing.
5. (tie) The Black Lillies
Having seen these guys more than once again this year, I can say in all honesty that they never disappoint. Energy, enthusiasm, terrific tunes and musicianship, and the vocals of Cruz Contreras and Trisha Gene Brady. Perfect.
5. (tie) Sean McConnell
This year I have seen McConnell play for 20 people and 500 hundred people and in either setting he gave 100%. He held the room with his powerful songs and amazing, faultless vocals.
6. The Trishas at Madison Square Park Conservatory
The four ladies (Liz Foster, Jamie Lin Wilson, Savannah Welch and Kelley Mickwee + Brandy Zdan) played on a beautiful October afternoon in NYC to one of the largest crowds I have seen at the series. Gorgeous vocals, heavenly harmonies and skilled players. And bonus, they sang with Band of Heathens at their show later that night. Hope they make it back soon.
7. Cody Jinks at Midtown Live
Simply put, Jinks makes some mighty fine country music. Real, raw and honest songs that live (and on record) elicit a visceral response.
8. Jason Boland & The Stragglers and Cody Canada and The Departed at The Cutting Room
Both bands have been around for a while, and with good reason: they're the definition of real, no frills music; well-crafted songs, undeniably talented musicians and a great live show. To have them both on one bill was pretty special and while Canada leaned a bit more rock to Boland's country, they balanced one another nicely.
9. Green River Ordinance at Highline Ballroom, NYC
This band has been around for over a decade (their new release is January's Fifteen), but it was my first time seeing them and man, I was blown away. They're great musicians (with terrific harmonies) who played a seriously high energy set of hopeful, positive songs that just made you feel good. Bonus, they concluded their set with an acoustic encore in the middle of the crowd. Can't wait to see them again.
10. American Aquarium
This is a band who puts in well over 200 live dates a year, but never seems road weary. AA songs are emotionally charged stories of regret, failure, life and relationships and when heard live are passionately conveyed.
And a few more you shouldn't think twice about seeing live: Everyone at the BBR, Sam Outlaw, The Damn Quails, Bart Crow, Randy Rogers Band, William Clark Green, Dale Watson, Whitney Rose, Girls Guns and Glory, Shinyribs, Elijah Ocean and The Honeycutters. And if you are open minded, check out Eric Hutchinson, he's a pop singer-songwriter and he puts on a hell of a show, especailly when he's acoustic.
And my 2016 "Wish List": Statesboro Revue, Dalton Domino, Mike & Moonpies, Jason Isbell.
LR Baggs visited Nashville during the 2015 Americana Music Festival and was able to film some pretty incredible performances by LR Baggs artists. Included are performances by some of TDC's favorites including American Aquarium, JP Harris and Chance McCoy, and Sam Outlaw as well as ChessBoxer, Joshua Hedley, Sean & Sara Watkins and
Oh Pep! The following sessions were recorded live at the LR Baggs Loft downtown. Enjoy them here.
The last two weeks in December are slow ones here at TDC, so it's the perfect time once again to say thank you to everyone who has been so kind over the past year. Thank you to every publicist and manager who has assisted in setting up posting press releases, album/single reviews and interviews. And although I enjoy writing reviews and opinion pieces, I love talking with people. So a huge thank you to every single artist who has given their time for an interview; it was truly a pleasure to speak with every one of you, to learn about you, your music and songwriting.
And most importantly, thank you to everyone who has supported this site by coming here to read about a new artist or an old favorite, sharing a post on FB or Twitter and being encouraging. I am glad to know many of you personally and call you friend.
I hope 2015 was fabulous for all of you and that 2016 brings health, happiness and joy to you all. Warmly, Tara
NASHVILLE, TN (Press Release)--- Balsam Range, recently named Vocal Group of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA), has announced a truly great lineup for its 6th Annual Winter Concert Series. The band brings a series of concerts to their Haywood County, NC home each year, all presented at the historic Colonial Theatre.
“Our winter concert series is something we look forward to every year. It’s kind of a gift to our community and a great chance to play with, and share the talents of some of the artists we respect. With everyone’s busy schedules, we don’t normally get to join these guys onstage,” says Balsam Range’s Darren Nicholson.
The opening concert in January will feature Balsam Range in an evening brimming with their many chart-topping hits, and a few surprises. Guests for each of the three subsequent concerts include fan favorites, award winners, and even a couple of Grammy Nominees. The 2016 series will include Bryan Sutton, Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley (who are nominated for a Grammy in the Bluegrass Album category), and The Studio Dream Team, comprised of musicians Jeff Collins, David Johnson and Tony Creasman. Concerts are held at the Colonial Theatre in Canton on the first Saturday of each month, January through April 2016. Balsam Range, winner of the 2014 IBMA Entertainer of the Year, and 2015 Vocal Group of the Year, also performs at each show.
(Press Release) Nashville, TN - December 22, 2015 - Two months after launching her Rockethub/Ovation TV crowdfunding campaign as part of “A&E’s Project Startup,” Nashville’s Allison Veltz is seeing her dream come true with today’s release of her passion project, The White Room. Named for the music room in her East Nashville home where she recorded the intimate EP, The White Room’s five songs are co-produced by Veltz and Will Denton. The record not only showcases Veltz’s independent spirit, it also demonstrates her drive and determination as the record was fully funded in only 48 hours, and recorded and released in only two months time!
Allison Veltz - The White Room - track listing and songwriters:
The White Room is available starting today on CD Baby at http://cdbaby.com/cd/allisonveltz and will be available at other digital and music streaming outlets in the coming weeks.
Learn more about Allison’s journey and The White Room EP on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
The 7th annual 30A SONGWRITERS FESTIVAL- set for January 15, 16 and 17, 2016 - has announced the initial line-up for the 2016 celebration of singers and songs. The festival, held in venues along scenic Highway 30A in Florida's South Walton County, will feature headline performances from esteemed artists Jackson Browne, Grace Potter, JD Souther, Shovels & Rope and Wine, Women & Song featuring Matraca Berg, Suzy Bogguss & Gretchen Peters.
The 30A SONGWRITERS FESTIVAL is known throughout the music community as a destination where writers who perform their own music, and performers who write their own songs, come together for an extended weekend to perform varied genres of music ranging from country, blues, folk, soul and Americana. For audiences, it's a rare chance to connect with their favorite artists in a more intimate, informal setting.
For more information on the 2016 30A Songwriters Festival, including a full list of artists, venues, and ticket purchase information, visit www.30asongwritersfestival.com.
1/14 Thu - Variety Playhouse - Atlanta, GA
1/15 Fri - Variety Playhouse - Atlanta, GA
1/16 Sat - The Orange Peel - Asheville, NC
1/17 Sun - Iron City - Birmingham, AL
1/20 Wed - Druid City Music Hall - Tuscaloosa, AL
ASHEVILLE, NC (Press Release)-- Town Mountain is excited to announce they will be hitting the road in support of Railroad Earth next month. The run of dates kicks off with a two night stand in Atlanta at the Variety Playhouse on January 14th and 15th, followed by a hometown performance at The Orange Peel in Asheville, and wrapping up in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa respectively.
Town Mountain’s hard drivin’ bluegrass sound, tight harmonies, and stellar in-house songwriting have become the band’s trademark. They light up the stage with their honky tonk edge and barroom swagger, featuring a Jimmy Martin-style bounce and confidence that is countered at times by a laid-back John Hartford-esque groove. Town Mountain includes Robert Greer on vocals and guitar, Jesse Langlais on banjo and vocals, Bobby Britt on fiddle, Phil Barker on mandolin and vocals, and Adam Chaffins on bass.
Town Mountain just wrapped up the final touches of their 5th studio album which is due out in the Spring of 2016. Produced and engineered by GRAMMY winner Dirk Powell, the album was recorded in Powell’s studio The Cypress House in south Louisiana. To warm everyone up this winter, they released a two-track disc of their favorite tunes from the Grateful Dead’s catalog called The Dead Session, that has some snazzy artwork to go along with it; it will be available at the shows!
Town Mountain is in it for the long haul... check out out where they’ll be travelin’ to next and keep and eye on TownMountain.net for further dates as well as a brand new selection of merchandise. For updates from the road, please visit facebook.com/TownMountain, twitter.com/TownMountain, and instagram.com/townmountainbluegrass.
For a sneak peek at what to expect on the future studio album, watch the band perform a new original song, “Wildbird,” in this wonderful session filmed by Hype Music Festivals at the 2015 Suwannee Springfest in Live Oak, FL.
John Prine, Lee Ann Womack, Joe Henry to Perform at Blackberry Farm for Americana Spring Celebration
(Nashville, Tenn. Press Release) Dec. 18, 2015 - The Americana Music Association has announced the lineup for the 6th Annual Americana Spring Celebration to be held March 31 - April 3, 2016, with performances on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, at Blackberry Farm, a world-class luxury resort breathtakingly situated in the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee.
This year's musical experience will feature one of the greatest songwriters of our time, Americana Lifetime Achievement honoree, John Prine; multi GRAMMY, AMA, ACM, CMA and Billboard Awards winner and current Grammy Nominee Lee Ann Womack; and critically acclaimed singer-songwriter, guitarist, Grammy Winning producer and beloved member of the community, Joe Henry, playing before the inspiring backdrop of Blackberry Farm to benefit the not-for-profit artist advocacy group.
Reservations are available by calling 1-800-557-8864 or visiting www.blackberryfarm.com.
"We are so excited to be returning to Blackberry Farm to produce this important fundraiser, it just keeps getting better and better“ said Jed Hilly, Executive Director of the Americana Music Association, adding, “a weekend at this intimate venue with John, Lee Ann and Joe will truly be a once-in-a-lifetime experience that no one will ever forget.”
Maiden Voyage of The Outlaw Country Cruise Sells Out
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Press Release) – The guys of Blackberry Smoke had a groundbreaking year, releasing their critically-acclaimed forth studio album, Holding All The Roses, playing sold-out shows around the world, including shows with legendary rock band ZZ Top, performing on Conan, appearing on the soundtrack for EA Sports’ Madden NFL 16,premiering the music video for their latest single “Rock and Roll Again” on Yahoo, participating in the sold-out Warren Haynes Christmas Jam and donating $15,000 to CURE Childhood Cancer and $15,000 to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.
The band is keeping the momentum going into 2016 by kicking the year off with a headliner spot on the maiden voyage of The Outlaw Country Cruise, which features performances by Blackberry Smoke, Lucinda Williams, The Mavericks, Country Music Hall of Famer Bobby Bare and many more for four rebellious days at sea. The cruise will also host special radio broadcasts and performances from SiriusXM Outlaw Country personalities, including Steve Earle, Shooter Jennings, Elizabeth Cook and Mojo Nixon. Additionally, the band will criss-cross the country, with shows scheduled for North Carolina, Alabama, Virginia, Ohio and many more (full schedule here), and internationally, including their first-ever Australia show at Byron Bay Bluesfest, which will also feature performances by Jackson Browne, Jason Isbell, Brian Wilson, Elle King and more.
Blackberry Smoke on Tour:
February 04, 2016 Asheville, NC The Orange Peel
February 05, 2016 Asheville, NC The Orange Peel
February 07, 2016 - Thursday, February 11, 2016 Miami, FL Outlaw Country Cruise
February 12, 2016 Jacksonville, FL FL Theatre
February 13, 2016 Birmingham, AL Iron City
February 18, 2016 Columbus, OH LC Pavilion
February 19, 2016 Springfield, IL Boondocks
February 20, 2016 Glasgow, KY Plaza Theatre
March 10, 2016 Norfolk, VA The NorVa
March 11, 2016 Richmond, VA The National
March 12, 2016 North Myrtle Beach, SC House of Blues
March 24, 2016 Sydney, AUS The Basement
March 25-March 28, 2016 Byron Bay, AUS Bluesfest